Revenge for alleged wrongs more than 30 years ago in El Salvador led to a Father’s Day 2013 shooting at a Gainesville park, according to attorneys delivering opening statements Tuesday in Hall County Superior Court.
Saul Castillo is charged with malice murder for allegedly shooting and killing Silverio Acosta, of Gainesville, after a June 16, 2013, soccer game at Tadmore Park.
“This occurred on Father’s Day … when the defendant is there seeking revenge for something that happened to his father,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance said.
Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin allowed Castillo to withdraw his guilty plea in July 2016 after his attorney was able to retrieve New York medical records.
“Mr. Castillo’s contention is that the records provided him with a viable defense — a history of mental illness and evidence of a past traumatic brain injury that, he argues, could have led a jury to find him insane at the time of the murder,” according to the order.
One doctor testified about Castillo reportedly “hearing voices in his head,” according to the order.
Defense attorney Larry Duttweiler on Tuesday and Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson at a 2015 hearing both said Castillo claimed his father was killed by Acosta almost 35 years ago using a machete.
Claudia Acosta, the victim’s daughter, was the first to testify Tuesday afternoon following jury selection and opening statements.
Claudia Acosta recalled Castillo running toward her father and shooting at him. According to court documents, Acosta died from multiple gunshots to the head and torso.
“I kept saying, ‘God, please don’t take him,’” Claudia Acosta testified.
Castillo was stopped by Hall County marshals working as security.
Claudia Acosta said she had heard rumors about some previous tension and recalled a threatening phone call years earlier about someone wanting to kill the family.